Monday, February 13, 2012

The Invincible Strength of True Love

In the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, verses one to thirteen, is famous for the declaration that love is the most important thing in and beyond life. Every time I read it I am amazed by the simplicity and elegance of the message:  

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

With Elizabeth and Matt’s wedding on Saturday, I saw the lesson of Corinthians over and over in the presence of the loved ones who celebrated the day with us.

I saw it in Liddy and Matt themselves, how they rarely took their eyes from each other through the day and how they quietly exuded pure joy as they became husband and wife.

I made the liturgical stole Mother Susan is wearing last year as a gift for her.  She thoughtfully made a point of incorporating it in the ceremony.

It was so wonderful to proudly share the day with Matt’s family, his parents, his grandmother, his uncles and aunts, all of whom have welcomed Elizabeth into their arms unconditionally.

Three years ago, my parents, healthy and independent, were happy guests at Ryan’s wedding. My father, even though he is just over serious surgery for a broken hip and struggles to get around, told me he would do anything for Elizabeth and made a monumental effort to be there. He was palpably missing my mother.

Of course my sister, my cohort in laughter, irreverence and all around goofiness, was a huge part of making the day fun, along with her husband and oldest son.
Memories flooded me as I watched Mary Kate come down the aisle as Matron of Honor. I could see her the day Elizabeth was born, a two year old not quite sure what to make of her new baby sister.

Elizabeth and Mary Kate

James was so handsome as our usher. He had always been like his baby sister’s personal Court Jester. He was a constant, good natured source of entertainment for Elizabeth and would indulge her in playing any game she asked, singing and dancing along with goofy cartoons on TV or acting out scenarios she directed (usually involving dollies and/or Beverly Hills 90210 episodes).

Ryan gave Elizabeth away. As her other wonderful big brother, even though he was so much older, he also was always finding time to play with her, make silly faces, make her laugh.

My sister-in-law and I have been connected by marriage for over 35 years. She is one of the strongest, bravest, most indomitable women I have ever known. She is as gorgeous today as she was the day I met her. She was with us, along with one of her daughters, a beautiful young woman who, along with her five sisters, I am proud to call my niece.

Friends who have watched Elizabeth grow up surrounded us. These are friends who are true soul mates, people who are so good and good to me they never cease to amaze me with their endless loving kindness. Louise and Henry looked after my father for us and brought him home when he was not well enough to stay any longer, even though it meant they had to leave the reception early. Michael and Bill looked after me all day, getting my massively heavy power wheelchair in and out of the SUV multiple times, a huge outlay of energy and effort. Christine videotaped the wedding as a gift. Juanita and Michael are two of my favorite people in the world, elegant, charming, and, more than anything, kindred spirits. To say I am lucky to have all these people in my life does not even begin to do them justice.
As our youngest, Elizabeth held a special place in her father’s heart. With the other kids in school, she and her dad often spent their days together with long walks and trips to the park, just the two of them. She remembered him by carrying his pocket watch with her bouquet.

Ryan walking Elizabeth down the aisle.  Dennis' pocket watch is attached to her bouquet in memory of her dad.

Matt and Liddy’s friends embraced them with laughter and affectionate teasing throughout the day. His best man Jonathan, his friend since nursery school, gave a funny, touching toast that defined what a loyal and true friend Matt is.

My happiness was rounded out by running into other friends after the wedding at the church, by friends of Matt’s parents at the reception and by dear ones who couldn’t make it but were with us in spirit.

These people are the definition of love. The family members who spitefully declined Elizabeth’s loving invitations were not missed. They do not meet the criteria. Love is patient, love is kind. It keeps no record of wrongs.

It always protects. Love never fails.

And now these things remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Some more pictures:

Here comes the bride, escorted by her brother Ryan.
Elizabeth and Matt
One of the centerpieces we brought home.
The banner I made for them.

Banner close up

 My sister Cathy and I


Did you like what you read? Let others know. Thanks! Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Generous and Thoughtful MS Donation

My wonderfully talented cousin Steve is a skilled and versatile photographer. He (and his generous cohort, Bill Guy) recently supplied some of their photos of the 2011 One Lap of America to MotorTrend Magazine for the accompanying article. (I made a brief visit to the 2010 One Lap of America, brief because I got so lost in Southern New Jersey I was gone nearly as long Gilligan and his pals:

The MotorTrend article is great and of course the pictures are the best!:

Well, Steve and Bill, with incredible generosity, have donated their fee from the article to the MS Society in my honor!! I am so touched and flattered!

Steve, some of you will remember, was my childhood Howdy Doody companion.  We watched Saturday morning TV together every week after my dreaded ballet lesson (I was an appalling little ballerina). One year older than me, Steve has been like a big brother to me my whole life, only nicer. One example: when we were about 10 and 11 he was teaching me how to play a card game, but I misunderstood the rules. Essentially, I was totally cheating with every hand we played. But he never said a word, he just let me gleefully win game after game. That is the kind of guy he is.

Steve as he always looks to me, no matter how old we get:

Steve in real life (I told you he was a photographer!):

Thank you dear, dear cousin for being so thoughtful and for being a constant source of goodness in my life.   


Did you like what you read? Let others know. Thanks! Bookmark and Share